Research Article

The 2002 Denali Fault Earthquake, Alaska: A Large Magnitude, Slip-Partitioned Event

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Science  16 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5622, pp. 1113-1118
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082703

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The MW (moment magnitude) 7.9 Denali fault earthquake on 3 November 2002 was associated with 340 kilometers of surface rupture and was the largest strike-slip earthquake in North America in almost 150 years. It illuminates earthquake mechanics and hazards of large strike-slip faults. It began with thrusting on the previously unrecognized Susitna Glacier fault, continued with right-slip on the Denali fault, then took a right step and continued with right-slip on the Totschunda fault. There is good correlation between geologically observed and geophysically inferred moment release. The earthquake produced unusually strong distal effects in the rupture propagation direction, including triggered seismicity.

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